Despite securing a last-ball tie against Pakistan in the first ODI in Dublin, Ireland batsman Kevin O'Brien admitted that having come so close to victory, the result felt "like a loss". Ireland were set a target of 276 from 47 overs in a rain-affected match and they needed 15 off the last over bowled by Saeed Ajmal. Only two runs came off the first three balls before O'Brien hit a six off the fourth ball and took a couple off the next to bring the equation down to five off the last ball. O'Brien struck the last delivery for a four.
"It feels like a loss as we came so close, but just couldn't get over the line," O'Brien said. "If I had left [Saeed] Ajmal's delivery, it could have been a wide, but that is hindsight. You are in the moment and you just swing a bat on it. We are not out to tie games, and that is why it feels like a loss, to be honest."
After Pakistan scored 266 for 5 from 47 overs, the target for Ireland was revised to 276 as the Pakistan innings was interrupted thrice by rain. Ireland's chase was led by opener Paul Stirling with a knock of 103 - his fifth ODI hundred and second against Pakistan.
The two batsmen in the middle for the last over - O'Brien and Trent Johnston - were the same who sealed a stunning three-wicket win against the same opponents in the 2007 World Cup. O'Brien said it brought back memories of the World Cup and the two batsmen talked about it before he faced the last ball.
"Trent mentioned it before the final ball and asked: 'How about you hit the winning runs this time?'" he said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan batsman Asad Shafiq, who was involved in a 188-run partnership with centurion Mohammad Hafeez for the second wicket, gave due credit to the Irish players for putting up a competitive match.
"They played very well, and we are expecting another tough match," Shafiq said. "It will be very good preparation for our Champions Trophy campaign [in England in June]."
The second ODI will also be played in Dublin, on May 26.